Paper Money

South Africa issues revised note series for 2023

The South African Reserve Bank released upgraded Mandela bank notes on May 3, including this 100-rand note, which shows a family of Cape buffalo on the back.

Images courtesy of the South African Reserve Bank.

The South African Reserve Bank released upgraded Mandela bank notes on May 3. The new notes will co-circulate with the old ones. Although they have the same themes, they look markedly different, with new designs and updated security features.

Five denominations have been placed into circulation: 10-, 20-, 50-, 100- and 200-rand notes (10 rand are equivalent to 55 cents U.S.). They are printed on cotton substrate and can be differentiated from one another by the dominant color, animal theme on the reverse, and width.

The face side of the upgraded series continues to pay homage to South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela. His portrait featured on all five denominations is the same as on the prior series but with different background details. The most significant of these is the SparkLive TruSpin security feature — a color-changing ink with a spin feature containing the same animals as featured on each back. It spins and changes color when the note is tilted.

The animals on the backs are the same choices as before but each note now depicts a family unit rather than a single adult. The Reserve Bank links each species to one of the bank’s core values. The green 10-rand note shows rhinos, the most endangered of the Big 5 and linked to the value of accountability. The elephants on the brown 20-rand note represent respect and trust, building social bonds, and inspiring stability and confidence. Excellence is personified by the lions on the purple 50-rand note. The Cape buffalo on the blue 100-rand represents open communication. The 200-rand note is orange in color and depicts the leopard’s nobility, courage and honor.

The notes call attention to South Africa’s diverse population. “South African Reserve Bank” is printed in English on the face of each note. The backs each bear two of the country’s other 10 official languages.

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